Imperial College London is a public research university located in London, United Kingdom. Its founder, Prince Albert, envisioned a cultural area composed of the Victoria and Albert Museum, Natural History Museum, Science Museum, Royal Albert Hall, and the Imperial Institute. The Imperial Institute was opened by Queen Victoria, his wife, who laid the foundation stone in 1887. Imperial College London was formed by Royal Charter in 1907, and joined the University of London, before leaving it a century later. The curriculum was expanded to include medicine after mergers with several historic medical schools. In 2004, Queen Elizabeth II opened the Imperial College Business School.
Imperial is organised into faculties of science, engineering, medicine, and business. The main campus is located in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. The university's emphasis is on technology and its practical applications. Imperial's contributions to society include the discovery of penicillin and the development of fibre optics.
Imperial is consistently ranked among the top universities in the world, in 2017 ranking 8th in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, 9th in the QS World University Rankings, and 22nd in the Academic Ranking of World Universities. It has been ranked as the most innovative university in Europe. Imperial staff and alumni include 15 Nobel laureates, 2 Fields Medalists, 70 Fellows of the Royal Society, 82 Fellows of the Royal Academy of Engineering, and 78 Fellows of the Academy of Medical Sciences.
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